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Birders, outdoor enthusiasts and nature photographers can flock to the 15th annual Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival Tuesday through Sunday, Sept. 24-29, to witness the region’s renowned migration transformation.
The family- and photography-friendly event is anchored at Marathon’s oceanfront Curry Hammock State Park, mile marker (MM) 56.2. Field trips, workshops and educational programs focused on birds, butterflies, native wildlife and even astronomy span the entire Keys chain from Florida Bay by Everglades National Park to the islands of the Dry Tortugas.
Curry Hammock is home to the annual Florida Keys Hawkwatch, a citizen scientist effort of volunteers who monitor the fall raptor migration. The park became known as the Peregrine Falcon Migration Capital of the World after volunteers in 2012 recorded the migratory actions of more than 3,200 of the majestic birds in a single day.
The festival’s opening program, “Wading Birds of Florida Bay — A Pictorial Depiction,” features keynote speaker Rafael Galvez, the Hawkwatch coordinator. The presentation is planned for 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at Key Largo’s Murray Nelson Government Center, MM 102.
Saturday, Sept. 28, brings the event’s Wildlife Fair featuring activities, environmental booths, food and music from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the fair is free.
That evening, Elizabeth Moore, a NASA solar system educator, is to present a free 6-9 p.m. astronomy program at the park.
Sunday’s schedule features an all-day birding and wildlife photography excursion to Dry Tortugas National Park, a cluster of seven tiny islands approximately 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. A ferry to the remote birders’ paradise boards at 7:30 a.m. in Key West and returns around 5 p.m. Reservations are required and space is limited to two groups of 20 people each.
Entrance to Curry Hammock State Park is free for festival registrants. Registration fees apply for daytime programs and field trips.
Event information: www.keysbirdingfest.org or Kristie Killam at 305-872-0774
Visit the Florida Keys with up to 25% Savings on 3-bedroom beach houses! Enjoy an escape with friends, family, or seniors traveling together in such spacious beach houses. Use the link below to book this offer now before the sale ends on August 24th, 2013. Choose from travel dates between now and December. Find the best offers in September or by calling our onsite vacation planners at 877-705-5758.
NOTE: THE 72-HOUR SALE IS FOR 3-BEDROOM BEACH HOUSES
- 3-Bedroom Waterview Beach Houses: From $209/Night
- 3-Bedroom Waterfront Beach Houses: From $229/Night
- 3-Bedroom Beachfront Beach Houses: From $259/Night
Call 877-705-5758 to speak with an onsite vacation planner
Terms: Rates are subject to availability and frequent change. Black out dates and restrictions apply. Above rates do not reflect $25.00 per night resort fee and 12.5% applicable tax. Advertised 25% discount available most Sundays – Thursdays August through December 19 with lesser discount available on weekends.
Deposit Policy: 72 Hour Sale reservations require a full non-refundable deposit equal to all nights and resort fees, plus 12.5% tax. A100% deposit will be taken at the time of booking. Deposit is nonrefundable and nontransferable.
Cancellation Policy: 72 Hour Sale reservations are nonrefundable. If this reservation is cancelled, a refund will not be issued. Dates are final.
Relax, unwind and find serenity with our Weekday Sale in the Florida Keys! Book now and enjoy rates from just $209/night on two-bedroom waterview beach houses when staying Sundays through Thursdays. On some dates you will even find weekday rates on weekends for a limited time! Find the best Weekday Sale rates in September.
Call 855-210-0829 to speak with an onsite vacation planner to find the best offers on your travel dates.
WEEKDAY SALE SAVINGS
• 2-bedroom waterview beach house from $209/night
• 3-bedroom waterview beach house from $229/night
• 3-bedroom waterfront beach house from $254/night
• 2-bedroom beachfront beach house from $280/night
• 3-bedroom beachfront beach house from $297/night
Terms: Rates do not include daily resort fee of $25/night or applicable 12.5% taxes. The Weekday Sale is subject to limited availability. Rates and availability are subject to change.
September is such a majestic time to visit the Florida Keys and Tranquility Bay Resort, as the island quiets down and cooler nights start to set in. You can test the waters in September with some spectacular savings for guests that book in advance. We’ve also reduced our beachfront beach houses even further and you can discover a 2-bedroom beachfront unit from just $299/night. These rates will only last for a limited time so book now to avoid increases.
September Beachfront Savings from $299/Nt (Waterview from $209/Nt)
• 2-bedroom waterview beach house from $209/night
• 3-bedroom waterview beach house from $229/night
• 3-bedroom waterfront beach house from $269/night
• 2-bedroom beachfront beach house from $299/night
• 3-bedroom beachfront beach house from $349/night
Call 888-974-0421 to speak with an onsite vacation planner, or Book Online Now.
Note: These rates are available as of July 29, 2013 and are subject to increase after this date.
Marathon’s newest sightseeing venture, Overseas Aero Tours, provides a unique opportunity to see the Florida Keys from a vintage WWII biplane. During the company’s biplane rides for two, passengers can view the historic and contemporary bridges connecting the islands of the Florida Keys and spot marine life such as fish, sharks, rays and dolphins in the clear shallow waters below.
Highlights include a bird’s eye view of Marathon, Pigeon Key, Sombrero Lighthouse and the historic Seven Mile Bridge. Rides combine history and nature in a memorable, fascinating adventure for Keys visitors.
Overseas Aero Tours is a family-run endeavor. Pilots are Captain Brad Neat, who began Keys seaplane tours in 1993, and former Continental Airlines pilot Captain Evan Doumis. Both pilots are certified flight instructors and can provide flight training for those interested.
Excursion prices start at $110 for two people and range from eight-to-10-minute tours to 60-minute flights. Overseas Aero Tours’ biplane is located at the Florida Keys/Marathon International Airport, mile marker (MM) 52.2 gulfside.
For information, visit www.overseasaerotours.com and for reservations call 305-304-0015.
Fall in the Florida Keys is truly majestic. With the glow of a brilliant orange sunset, a backdrop of cool palm trees swaying in the breeze, and sparkling Gulf waters—you’ll agree that this is one of the best times to visit Tranquility Bay. For a limited time, you can even save up to 20% on fall stays at Tranquility Bay Resort.
Book now to avoid disappointment and below we’ve even highlighted some of the exciting events taking place this fall.
Fall Events in Marathon and Nearby Key West:
Marathon: September 19 – 22, Marathon International Bonefish Tournament
For more than 50 years, this challenge awards individual and team champions scoring the largest bonefish and permit, the top anglers in fly and grand slam divisions (for the top spin or fly angler who releases the largest bonefish, permit and tarpon “slam”), as well as the tongue-in-cheek “wet pants” champion titles for anglers wading from shore. Contact: Barb 305-304-8682 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Florida Keys: September 19 – 22, 41st Annual Phil Peterson’s Key West Poker Run
It’s an All-American event as motorcycle enthusiasts from around the U.S. travel the Keys’ scenic Overseas Highway – designated Florida’s only All-American Road – from mainland Florida to Key West to raise money for charity. Winner takes all, and can win a new Harley-Davidson Motorcycle or cash. Stops are arranged throughout the Keys with a final celebration in Key West. New this year: Poker Run stops are to be open for riders starting Thursday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Sept. 22; more Keys-wide events to be planned for the entire week; cash prize to the person wearing the oldest official Phil Peterson’s Poker Run T-shirt. Contact: 800-545-2561 or 305-235-4023.
Marathon: September 25-29, Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival
Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival. Marathon & the Lower Keys. A celebration of the natural wonders of Florida wildlife takes place at the peak of the fall birding season. The event includes field trips focusing on education and conservation relating to Keys birds and wildlife, nature photography, hikes, kayak excursions and a family-fun environmental fair. Visit www.keysbirdingfest.org or call 305-872-0774.
Key West: October 10 – 13, SoMo Marathon & Half Marathon
Presented by Pat Croce’s Rum Barrel, this event is one of a kind! Imagine running through the southernmost island in the United States while enjoying a break from the ordinary. The Southernmost Marathon & Half promises just that- 26.2 or 13.1 miles of ocean and gulf views, as well as iconic Key West landmarks. A full weekend of events include the race and a Sunday Paddle Board race for the Special Olympics of Monroe County. Email: email@example.com
Marathon: October 19, Third Annual Stone Crab Eating Contest
The much-anticipated opening of Florida’s stone crab season takes place Oct. 15 each year, and the season opening is followed by this tasty test of crab-consuming capacity. How fast can you crack and cleanly consume 25 stone crab claws? Test your munching mettle at this zany contest. Register by 12 p.m., contest starts at 1 p.m., entry fee is $25 per contestant, and individuals must be at least 18 years old to enter. Interested eaters are encouraged to register early. Contact: 305-743-4353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key West: October 18 – 27, 34th Annual Fantasy Fest
This outrageous 10-day costuming and masking celebration, themed “Superheroes, Villains … and Beyond!” features flamboyant costume competitions including one for pets, promenades, street fairs and a grand parade that stars marching groups, island bands and lavish floats. More than 40 masquerade contests, themed parties, parades and other spectacles are to challenge the creativity of mask and costume designers. Contact: 305-296-1817
We have some exciting news! Tranquility Bay Resort is helping you find your center in the Middle Keys with excellent summer and fall savings for 72 hours only.
Book by June 20th, 2013 and receive up to 25% off stays now through December. With two and three-bedroom beach houses, beachfront views, onsite watersports and two tropical swimming pools, Tranquility Bay Resort has something for everyone in a beachfront setting that is ‘just like home.’
How to Redeem the Offer
Call 877-705-5758 or book online at www.tranquilitybay.com/72hours. All you need to do is book by June 20th, 2013 and you’re on your way to paradise!
Tip: Book in September, October and early December for the best savings.
Speak with an onsite vacation planner by calling 877-705-5758
Terms: Rates do not include daily resort fee of $25/night or applicable 12.5% taxes. 25% discount is subject to limited availability and blackout dates. Rates and availability are subject to frequent change. Travel dates with lowest rates are September, October and early December. Reservations booked at 72-hour sale discount require full nonrefundable pre-payment, including a deposit equal to all nights and resort fees, plus tax. Dates are final.
School’s out for summer and now your children can enjoy a full schedule of eco-tours, dive-snorkel charters, fishing trips and visits to area attractions, such as the Museums and Nature Center of Crane Point Hammock or the Dolphin Research Center. You’ll also find plenty of free activities to keep your kids entertained between excursions, and at Tranquility Bay. Several waterfront restaurants, such as The Island (Mile Marker 54.5 gulf side) and Keys Fisheries (Mile Marker 50 gulf side) thoughtfully provide docks where children can feed tropical fish or see huge tarpon.
Here are a few of our favorite family activities:
At the Dolphin Research Center, visitors age 15-17 can enroll in a seven-day Teen Dolphin Lab or Dolphin Camps for ages 10-12 and 13-14, where students meet the resident dolphin population and observe their behavioral and physical characteristics as a way of learning respect for each individual. Here, you can also swim with dolphins this summer for an unforgettable experience.
“Meet” rescued sea turtles at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, where dedicated staff members focus on the care and rehabilitation of sick and injured sea turtles. The world’s only licensed veterinary hospital that specializes in sea turtles, the hospital even has its own turtle ambulance. Kids in the Keys can take guided tours of the facility to learn about sea turtles, get a behind-the-scenes look at the hospital and rehabilitation facility, and even feed some of the permanent residents. It’s also possible, if you’re lucky, to witness the release of a turtle that has been returned to health. Releases take place at beaches throughout the Keys, and since 1986 the hospital has released more than 1,000 sea turtles back into the ocean. The unique facility is located at MM 48.5 with daily tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Discover shells, fish tanks and pirate costumes at Crane Point Hammock in Marathon. Crane Point Hammock is a 63-acre environmental and archaeological preserve that features fun for families with all types of interests. The historically curious can visit Adderley House, a historic home built in 1906 by a Bahamian immigrant who was a sponge fisherman, boatman and charcoal maker. Adventure seekers can get up close and personal with the museum’s touch tank that features sea urchins and starfish or explore the large lagoon filled with nurse sharks and tropical fish. Nature lovers can hike along one of the nature trails or visit the Marathon Wild Bird Center, a bird rehabilitation center for injured or orphaned birds. Located at MM 50.5, Crane Point Hammock is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
The sport of paddle boarding has exploded in popularity and is attracting enthusiasts and newbies alike to the Florida Keys to try it. Standing on the board, typically 12 to 14 feet in length, not only allows for a better view of the surroundings, but also enables practitioners to paddle longer and more easily while standing, versus sitting as in a kayak. Standup paddling appeals to many different people because it is a relatively simple, straightforward yet diverse activity. Enjoy touring through the mangrove trees, along the beaches or in the backcountry flats in a noninvasive way.
Just down the road in Tavernier, you can become friends with herons, owls, pelicans and egrets at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center. This wild bird rescue, rehabilitation and educational facility, is also a sanctuary and visitor center located at mile marker (MM) 93.6. The FKWBC is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) that relies entirely on the generosity of both public and private donations. Visitors can drop in seven days a week, sunrise to sunset, and walk through the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary to the open water of Florida Bay where you’ll see many of the permanent residents along with free-flying birds of many species. Donations and volunteerism are gratefully accepted.
Families can get underway and hoist the sails during sailing lessons targeted to novice sailors who want to experience on-the-water training. Basic through advanced cruising, live-aboard cruises and charters are offered in the waters off the Keys.
Florida Keys Sailing, located in Marathon, offers training for a sailing license to charter or rent a sailboat. Classes range from day sailing trips (with lessons but no tests!) to three-day soup-to-nuts learning courses, after which sailors should be skilled enough to skipper a 24- to 30-foot boat. Five- and seven-day bareboat cruising classes offer serious candidates the skills to captain and charter a 40- or 50-foot sailboat anywhere in the world, and be able to take the family out for a cruise.
Search for Key deer on Big Pine Key. Key deer are an endangered species that live only in the Lower Keys. These shy, appealing creatures are about the size of a large dog and can be found grazing all around Big Pine Key, especially in the early morning hours and around dusk. Spotting these “Bambi-like” creatures isn’t always easy, but it’s an adventure. To learn more about Key deer and other native species, visit the National Key Deer Refuge Visitor Center, located one-quarter mile north of the traffic light on Key Deer Boulevard in the Big Pine Key Shopping Plaza. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rotary Field of Dreams
Mile Marker 52, oceanside (75th Street and U.S. 1) Your children will be talking about this large playground for a long time to come. It offers a wooden replica of Thomas the Train, plus plenty of tunnels, swings, and a sandbox with a toothy, make-believe shark. There is plenty for toddlers and older kids.
Mile Marker 50, oceanside (Turn off U.S. 1 at Sombrero Beach Blvd., and drive to the end). This 12.6-acre beach is one of the most popular stops in Marathon for good reason. The beach was renovated in 2003 with creative landscaping and other amenities. It offers walkways, picnic areas and a roped off swimming area.
Coco Plum Beach
Mile Marker 54.5 oceanside (Turn off U.S. 1 at Coco Plum Drive). This small, natural beach is an enjoyable stop, but one with few amenities. It is a quiet, dog-friendly beach with clean-up baggies provided.
Marathon Community Park
This park is located directly on US1 at 200 36th Street Ocean (MM 49). There are four tennis courts, a tennis wall, a combination hockey/basketball court (3 courts), two little league fields, and two soccer fields. There is also an X-treme skating park, two shuffleboard courts, two bocce ball courts, a batting cage, concession stand, amphitheater, picnic areas, and restrooms. This facility is handicap accessible. The park hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Florida Keys Overseas Highway, from north of Key Largo to Key West, is an All-American Road, the highest recognition possible under the National Scenic Byways program established by the U.S. Congress in 1991. Only 30 other roadways in the nation have earned the prestigious title.
The Overseas Highway has been named one of America’s most scenic drives and among the top 10 greatest drives in the United States by several prestigious publications, including Reader’s Digest and more.
On the next family trip to these drive-to islands, play a game to see who can count each of the 42 bridges over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico!
Step right onto our white sand beach from your Florida Keys porch at Tranquility Bay Resort, with up to 15% savings on beachfront beach houses in May. This spontaneous offer is available for a limited time so call (855) 606-4502 today and our vacation planners will be happy to help.
Enjoy 15% off beachfront beach houses on the following dates:
- May 22nd-24th
- May 29th-31st
Click here to book online or call (855) 606-4502 to speak with an onsite vacation planner.
We’ve got some late but great deals at Tranquility Bay Resort starting this Sunday, May 12th, 2013 and into next week! View our room types and starting rates below or call 855-554-8312 to speak with an on-site vacation planner today.
Dates Available: Sunday May 12th through Wednesday May 15th, 2013
- 2BR Waterview Beach House: From $209/Night
- 3BR Waterview Beach House: From $224/Night
- 3BR Waterfront Beach House: From $251/Night
- 2BR Beachfront Beach House: From $279/Night
- 3BR Beachfront Beach House: From $322/Night
NOTE: Please click ‘view all offers’ when booking online to find the above mentioned rates or call 855-554-8312 to speak with an on-site vacation planner for more information. Please make sure to select the date range and room type mentioned above.
Note that rates are per night & subject to change based on availability. Offers valid for select dates only. This offer is available while rates last and some blackout dates may apply. Taxes and the daily resort fee are not included in this promotion and are additional. To view the discounted rate code, click ‘view all offers’ when booking.